“It’s really quite disastrous,” said United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Haiti, Nigel Fisher, of the cholera crisis in Haiti. It may actually be an understatement.
Since the outbreak began in 2010, at least 7,200 Haitians have died from the disease and more than 530,000 people have been infected to date. As Haiti’s population is less than ten million, more than 1 in 20 Haitians have already been infected. And the toll is expected to soar with the onset of the rainy season. The Pan American Health Organization stated that the current Haiti crisis “has become one of the largest cholera epidemics in modern history.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that cholera will likely persist in Haiti absent the development of water and sanitation systems, the cost of which has been estimated at $800 million to $1.1 billion.
Cholera was introduced to Haiti by United Nation troops. As such, it is imperative for the UN to now act decisively to control the cholera epidemic, and eliminate this deadly disease from Haiti and the rest of the island of Hispaniola. A failure to act will lead to countless more deaths and infections in Haiti and its neighboring countries, and will ultimately undermine the crucial effort to reconstruct Haiti.
A letter is currently circulating in Congress calling on Susan Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, to urge the UN to take the leadership role in addressing the cholera epidemic in Haiti. You can contact your Representative today and encourage them to sign this letter.
In addition, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti has also initiated a petition calling the UN to accept responsibility for the outbreak and take the lead, logistically and financially, in ending the crisis. To sign the petition, go to undeny.org.